RapReview Of The Week

[Ephorize] CupcaKKe :: Ephorize

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

EDITOR'S NOTE: Some of the topics discussed within this review should only be considered appropriate for mature audiences. A proper dissection of the album can not be done without addressing them so please exercise the proper discretion if this topic or material is not for younger audiences.

An "aphorism" is a concise sentiment of a core value or principle such as "quality over quantity," and to "aphorize" is to spout numerous aphorisms. Neither of these definitions comes close to explaning "Ephorize" though, the third studio album from Elizabeth Eden Harris better known as CupcaKKE. Urban Dictionary comes closer to nailing her down simply by changing the A to an E with the definition "to have complete influence over." That sounds about right. Ever since her first video "Gold Digger" went viral five years ago CupcaKKe has become a highly influential female rap star, taking the template laid down by Lil' Kim and Trina before her and cranking it up to 2 Live Crew levels. She's unapologetically frank about sex and encourages fans to be sex positive -- another term that may need definition for some readers. It means being open and progressive about sexuality and including all kinds of healthy sexual relationships in that discussion: gay, straight, transgender, bi, et cetera.

I'm not the most qualified individual to break it down further than that so I'll point you to other resources if you want to know more. The point is CupcaKKe has become a cultural icon to many people who feel that they don't have a voice or representation. That's why songs/videos like CupcaKKe's "LGBT" off her first studio album were important then and even more important now in the current right wing reactionary conservative political climate we're living in.

Let's get back to "Ephorize" though. As I mentioned CupcaKKe is frank in a way that might even make Kimberly Jones blush, and I realize is a bold statement, but I haven't heard anything quite like "Duck Duck Goose" in a while. If you can think of a taboo she breaks it, but nothing about it comes across as a stunt or for shock value. It simply feels like Ms. Harris has no time to waste on the petty concerns of those who would be offended because she's too busy living her life -- and besides nobody is forcing you to listen to her at the point of a knife. If you don't like it you can turn it off. Me? I like her frankness just fine. Unfortunately from an advertiser standpoint it makes her lyrics hard to jot down.

"I thought I came but I peed on the d--k
P---c hair got inches, that's weave on the d--k
P---y like a tree, it got leaves on the s--t
Bang bang this p---y, Chief Keef with the d--k
Climbin on that d--k, need a ten feet ladder
I love the D, that's my favorite letter
My news in your phone, takin up your data
My cakes got fatter by using c-- as the batter
Look down to your d--k and tell him I won't disappoint it
P---y on punishment if she miss a d--k appointment
Sloppy toppy for papi leave sloppy joe shook
I only call you +Captain+ cause yo' d--k is off the +Hook+"

This track and most of the album's other songs are produced by Def Starz, with a few select tracks going to Turreekk instead (20% of them to be precise). This gives CupcaKKe an audible consistency that's lacking for many of her contemporaries, but it's likely that's only possible because she's her own publisher. A major label would try to bring in big name producers and would pressure CupcaKKe to have guest stars, but (for now at least) she's not interested in doing things any way other than her own. That's another among the numerous reasons that CupcaKKe has established a cult fan following in such a short amount of time. To put it bluntly she's a take no s--t kind of b---h and songs like "Cinnamon Toast Crunch" explain why.

Even though "b---hes wanna box me like I'm Cinnamon Toast Crunch" there's no stopping CupcaKKe and her hustle. After two studio albums and a handful of mixtapes she's reached a level of confidence where she can do a track like "Self Interview" and answer all the questions anybody would want to ask, all while humorously noting that "most people already skipped this song/cause it ain't about sex and killing".

Let's be realistic for a moment. There's a possibility and in fact a high probability that a number of people who buy "Ephorize" or any of CupcaKKe's albums are in it for the very reason Ms. Harris stated above -- the sex. They just want to be titillated by her unapologetic raps about great orgasms, freaky sexual encounters, and sucking more d--k than anybody else you know. That's why the 2 Live Crew comparison is apt really because there's no doubt a large part of their audience did the same. A majority of the audience just won't give a f--k about sex positivity or her support of the LBGTQIA community. I'm sure CupcaKKe is just as happy to count your money whether you want a cheap thrill or care about her pushing artistic and societal boundaries. It all folds and spends the same way. It wouldn't matter to me either way. You can be sex positive but have no skills as an emcee, or you can be dope on the mic but know and care nothing about it at all. CupcaKKe is an even more rare combination though - sex positive, an attractively husky voice, great breath control, and FUNNY too. I defy you to listen closely to "Fullest" and not at least chuckle let alone laugh out loud.

Can the production improve? A little bit. It's good for where she's at now but I can't lie and say I wouldn't mind a bit more bump and head nod. I also like seeing her branch out from the strictly sexual topics. Even if she admits they aren't what brought people to the dance and some might tune out, I'm willing to bet there are enough listeners who are down to here what she has to say. In fact if she straight up talked politics I bet everybody from her native Chicago all the way to New York and Cali would be into it. This is a good time to get to know CupcaKKe, because we live in a society that's already been made crass by our Commander-in-Chief, so there's no reason for CupcaKKe not to level the playing field the same way Stormy Daniels did. It may need an age appropriate sticker like the Crew did when I was a young impressionable kid, but if you're old enough to buy it you're going to enjoy her for one reason or another.

Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10

Originally posted: March 13, 2018
source: www.RapReviews.com

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